Here’s a letter by Srila Prabhupada appreciating the service and sincerity of one of his grihastha disciples.
My Dear Rupanuga,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to thank you for your letter dated August 24, 1968, with 2 pictures, photographs of our temple in Buffalo. You have written to say that Buffalo is doing well, but I think Buffalo is doing well because you are doing well. Every place is expansion of Krishna’s material energy, and material energy being expansion of Krishna, in one sense there is no difference between Krishna and the material energy. The only defect of material energy is that it is something like the prison department of the government. But it is not that all the persons residing in prison are under prison rules and regulations. Similarly, all conditioned souls who are within this material energy, are supposed to be the prison walls of material nature, but those who are officering on behalf of Krishna, they are not members of the prison rules and regulations. So our members of Krishna Consciousness all over the world who are engaged in preaching Lord Krishna’s desire, that everyone should surrender unto Him, so one who has taken up seriously to preach this message in the world, he is considered as doing well. So my conclusion is that Buffalo is doing well because you are doing well. I am so glad to see that one of my sincere disciples has sacrificed everything for spreading Krishna Consciousness, and I am so pleased upon you that you are showing the example of an ideal householder. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur was also a householder, but he lived in so perfect Krishna Consciousness that he is better than many Sannyasins like us. So far I am concerned, I could not live like Bhaktivinode Thakur because I was disgusted with my family members and I was obliged to give up my family life. But Krishna is so kind that although I left my few children born out of this physical body, Krishna has sent many nice beautiful obedient children for propagating my mission. And you are one of them. So I am very much obliged to you.
The best thing that you are doing, that you are training our grandchild, Mr. Eric. I always see that he is always with you and from very childhood, he is getting the Krishna Consciousness ideas, and similar opportunity was for me when I was a little boy, like your child. My father also trained me and instructed me to his best capacity, and he prayed for me that Radharani may be pleased upon me, and I think by my father’s blessings and grace, I may have come to this position, and I might have gotten into relationship with His Divine Grace, Om Visnupad Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaj. So it is also Krishna’s Grace that I got good father, and a good Spiritual Master, and in my old age also, Krishna has favored me with so many good children. So when I feel I see that Krishna is so kind upon me, so I offer my obligations unto Him.
I shall be glad to receive a copy of the pictures taken by Joey, as you describe it has come so successful.
From the pictures of our Buffalo center, it appears it is very nice cottage and I think it is quite suitable for our purpose.
Regarding your question: “about the six-armed Lord Chaitanya you gave me (Krishna, Lord Chaitanya, and Lord Rama combined.) Why is Lord Chaitanya carrying a forked stick? What do the Shaivite-like teloks on His arms signify? And to whom was this form revealed?” The forked stick is a symbol of ekadandi. The Mayavadi sannyasis, they carry ekadanda, one stick. As we Vaisnava sannyasis carry 3 danda, or three sticks, combined together. The one stick is the symbol of understanding oneness. The monists only accept chin matra, there is only one spirit soul; they do not understand the varieties of the spiritual world. And so far our three sticks are concerned, we take it for granted that we have dedicated our life, for Krishna’s service in 3 ways, namely, in our body, in our mind, and in our words. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur has sung in a poetry that my mind, my body, and my home is surrendered unto You. So a Grihastha or householder like you, you are also tridandi. Because you have sacrificed everything, your life, your home, and your child, so you are a tridandi sannyasi, in fact. So continue this attitude seriously and sincerely, so you will be also as good as a sannyasi even though you are in the dress of a Grihastha. The Shaivite telok is three pundra, 3 lines, on the forehead, in 3 parallel lines. Our tilak udra pundra, they are distinctive marks of different sections. There are two sections of the Vedic followers. Namely, the impersonalists and personalists. So the tilak distinguishes one from the impersonalists. Our udra pundra, Visnu temple, udra pundra means Visnu temple, so we are distinguished from the mayavadis who use the three parallel lines, tripundra.
Regarding my going to Buffalo: It may be postponed for the time being. You will be glad to know that I am proceeding to New York tomorrow evening, at 4:30, and reaching there at 5:50. I wish to remain at least for a week in New York, and then start for San Francisco. Hope this meets you in good health,
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami